Choose Wisely

It’s been awhile! I’m currently on my winter break and I’m alone. I’m enjoying it, but I’m also being super lazy. I have a ton of work that needs to be done over the holidays but I’m not in the mood to do it. I really should get a head start on it before I leave for Bangkok though because I don’t want to be typing out my assignments on the beach. Yes, I’m going to Bangkok to visit my roomie ūüėÄ I’ll only be in Bangkok for 4 days tops because the rest of the time we’ll be on the beach ūüėÄ I’m so excited for the sun!

I’m also hardcore missing good Asian food so expect a lot of weight gain for me in the new year haha. My wrist is finally healing now that it has time to rest. I severely cut down on my gaming hours because of all the work we had to do in the last week which helped a bit I think. The biggest is problem is when I’m sleeping because I always wake up with a very sore wrist.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future lately. I finish school in October which is quite soon, considering how this year has been flying by. I want to do cinematography school at some point but I think I need to work for a few years first. I need a break from school.¬†I thought about FAMU in the Czech republic but now that HFF in Potsdam (THE top film school in Germany) is officially a University, I would like to attend there instead (especially with the cheap tuition fees… I believe foreigners can now attend for free). However, it is extremely competitive and I REALLY need to be fluent in German. I’m considering taking intensive German courses after I graduate while searching for internships/side jobs. I know I’ll have to leave Berlin at some point because it’s nearly impossible to get paid film work. There’s too many people coming here for film and not enough paid projects. I can’t be paid in food and alcohol forever.

For now that’s my goal. We’ll see what happens. For now I’m going to work on developing my projects. I have too many ideas but not enough fully developed ones. I’m already thinking about my graduation film. It’s probably going to cost me a ton of money so I really need to make sure that my idea is worth it…

PS: For those interested. Here’s my most recent project. We had to choose a genre and create an opening sequence for a “feature film.” I was not happy about recycling an old idea but I didn’t have any better ideas…

Intoxicating

It’s been a mighty long while since I updated. I’m sitting here, sipping tea and listening to Asgeir (also re-reading Harry Potter again because it’s that time of the year). I feel really relaxed for the first time in a long while. It’s been a hectic couple of months.

Last week we attended Camerimage in Bydgoszcz, Poland. It was a really good experience! I managed to catch 13 films in the 5 days that I was at the festival. I wanted to see more but I was really exhausted. I also packed in 2¬†workshops and about 10 short films. I wish I could have gone to more workshops but they clashed with a lot of the films I desperately wanted to see. Many of the films were foreign language films so I would not have been able to catch them with English subtitles in Berlin. I was a bit upset that we couldn’t stay for the full duration though because there were a ton of really good films on the last two days of the festival. The main one I wanted to watch was Mommy which is currently out in Germany but with German subtitles. Upsetting. I would also like to say that I met loads of cool people there but I really did not meet anyone. It’s hard.

We were chaperoned by our school Co-Director’s husband who is a really good cinematographer. He was really friendly and had lots of discussions with us as well as just hanging out with us. He managed to get some of us into the opening ceremony in which we saw Alan Rickman giving a speech. Surreal moment.

My favorites that I managed to catch at the festival were: In the Crosswind, Birdman, Get On Up, The Last Emperor 3D (I don’t understand why they had to convert it to 3D??? Also, the fact that they spoke in bad English the whole film and switched randomly into Mandarin really annoyed me), Winter Sleep, Leviathan, Goodbye to Language and Knife in the Water. I think I beat my Berlinale record.

Most of the shorts I saw were underwhelming in terms of story but they were quite stunning to look at. One of them in particular was just glorious to watch in general. The story was punchy and odd and the use of sound was very smart. I’ve never seen anything like it. I aspire to be like that.

Being at this festival showed us how limited our¬†resources are¬†at the school but also the limits of our knowledge. I think I really need to go to cinematography school after this…

I sustained a really bad fall 3 weeks ago at school during a scene and my wrist still hurts. I finally got a wrist brace today but it’s made for people with bigger body parts so I had to fold it twice to make it tight enough. I hope it heals soon because this is frustrating. I wish it was my left hand so that it would heal easier but what can I do.

I’m a bit stressed to film my opening sequence because I’m not happy with my story. I couldn’t think of a better one so I have stuck to this. I’m going to focus on trying to make it look good. I think after this, I’m going to try re-editing the rest of my shorts (now that I’m much better at it) and then upload them to vimeo.

I recently met a girl from craigslist (yes, I know…) who turned out to be pretty cool. She’s Korean but grew up in the states. She’s also a huge foodie, into film and lives near me so it’s great! It’s really great to have some friends outside of school. It’s just tough to keep them. Anyways, we’re going to find a Muay Thai course to take together! I’m also thinking of joining the gym and she already has a membership so it’ll be nice to have a workout buddy. I just need to wait for this damn wrist to heal.

I’m thinking of trying to start doing language exchange again once I have a bit more free time since I’m unhappy with my lack of German. I’m heavily considering taking singing lessons again because I lost my range but I don’t know why I should bother since I’m not going to do anything with it afterwards…

We shall see.

We have finally finished shooting our web series! While we’re not really satisfied with the results (too many limitations and the directors wanted to be too different from each other which made a lack of cohesion), we had a great time filming it. We have grown so much since we first started together and it really shows. We’ve become a real team that looks out for each other and try our best even in roles we’re not good at. I was worried that we would end up wanting to kill each other (there were a few moments, don’t get me wrong) and avoid each other for awhile after the shoot.

I was very pleased with the results of the two episodes that I directed though. The lighting was great and I was very very lucky to work with an amazing actor/actresses. I learned a lot!

I now have a lot of things to look forward to!

The bank I’m with lost a huge sum of my money in December because they gave me the wrong IBAN number and I recently got it back so my money situation is a lot better now. I still hope to find some short term jobs though. I might have a 2-3 day job as a paid extra, hopefully it works out ūüėÄ

My roommate and I are headed to Amsterdam next week and we’re super excited! After that, I get a week (we booked our trip on the wrong week..)¬†to¬†do nothing before school starts again. I’m hoping to utilize¬†that time to start some of the projects that I’ve been meaning to start¬†and to catch up on things that I’ve been meaning to work on.

I need to do some location scouting for a short film project that I really want to bring to life. I will probably have to invest in a vfx artist as well for certain scenes. I also have a lot of ideas that I need to start writing into script form. I need to learn some basic graphic design to make decent title sequences I think. I also need to find time to read more scripts and draw more things. I need to rent some lenses to play with on my bmpcc and to work on my photography skills. I’m thinking of starting an art blog for fun and to improve my creativity.

It’s so great that I have some friends who are really good at film and who like to ramble about film things because I’m learning a lot from them. Also, free knowledge! My new favorite magazine is American Cinematographer.

Did You Hear the Rain

I’m currently on a one week break since we finished our documentary module. My documentary went better than I expected (I was starting to despair a bit). It was received well at the screening and that made me feel relieved because it was under the time limit. I still need to fix up the sound a bit more and then I can finally hand it in.

I edited my short film again because I was still unhappy with it and the music thing didn’t seem to work out. In the end, I put in music that I found from a free music website. I still have to keep working on the sound design since some of the dialogue levels are strange. I’m also a bit unhappy with the edit of one scene so I will keep working on that. I’m hoping to add in an extra scene for the title once I get around to filming it.

In the meantime, I spent the first half of my break filming in the worst location on the hottest weekend of the year for a non-competitive film festival. We got all the shots we needed but I never want to film there again. First of all, it was one of the busiest places in Berlin and second of all, it was party central. People there are complete assholes and I was really worried about our equipment (or rather, equipment from my school). Not to mention, we were shooting illegally and got kicked out several times haha.

We also all had cameos in the short. I saw the current edit and it turned out better than I expected (I didn’t have good expectations to be honest). Even the sound was okay and no one listened to me (guess who was sound again..)

So that has been my life lately. Working hard, playing hard (been playing too hard recently though.. new classmates like to party too much haha) and napping hard. I might post up some of my shorts eventually… when I work up the courage. I don’t know about showing my things to the public yet haha..

I need to spend more time writing.

My Only

I’m back from Upper Austria! Well, I’ve been back since Friday but who’s keeping track anyways? I had a really great time as usual even though the weather was very confusing. First off, I would like to comment on the kindness and warm hospitality of farmers in Upper Austria. Or rather, the ones I met. Reinhard’s documentary was about a local hunter who was a really nice man. It was fun following him around and seeing his normal daily routine. We had to wake up at 3:45am the first day to film him because he started his day at 4:30am. I didn’t get to see him kill and gut a deer because there wasn’t enough room for me which was totally fine by me. However, because I wasn’t there, there wasn’t sound so we had to film him shooting his rifle again. I had to stand right next to him so my ears rang for a very long time.

When it was finally my turn to shoot mine, I was already super pumped. I was extremely lucky with mine. The beekeeper’s wife’s brother works for a government funded breeding centre for queen bees. It is located in a super secret location and only opens twice a year for people to come to fertilize their queen bees or to buy queen bees and you need connections to get in. We managed to get in and were able to get some statements from him and shots of the process. On top of that, my beekeeper was in the process of dividing his hives to create three new hives as well as collecting the honey (which he does every 6 months) so I was able to film all of that as well. Him and his family were so warm and wonderful, I was very touched. They even gave me a jar¬†of the honey they prepared that day!

I’ve never been so up-close and personal with such a large amount of bees before. It was a really interesting experience and if I had the land and money, I would love to bee-keep as a hobby. I learned a lot about bees and beekeeping so that was really nice. The beekeeper said that he has a desire for me to bee-keep and that he wants to be my mentor. I would love that! For now, I hope that I am able to create a good film out of the material that I shot. I would love to be able to enter it into competitions to spread awareness. I urge everyone to look into the dying bee problem as it will affect us heavily in the future. Without bees, we would not survive for more than four years.

Yes.

Four years.

Let that sink in.

I’m currently in the process of finding a good bee charity to donate to. Let’s save the bees!

 

Am I Only

 

I’ve neglected this blog again. I shall do a quick update of what I’ve been up to before heading towards my main points!

  • Finished filming with the second years on their feature film. It was a very interesting experience. The wrap party was also fun.
  • I’m trying to become a little bit more social. Baby steps.
  • Partook in the Holi festival which was really fun. I walked into a parked car later that night and managed to get a big shiny bruise on my knee.
  • We switched groups in school again. These groups are now permanent and I am now in the two year group ūüôā
  • We have two new students in our course.
  • People don’t believe in A/C here.
  • Allergies are fucking hell.
  • Enjoyed the annual Festival of Culture.
  • Had a wonderful vacation to Budapest and Vienna with my roommate. We hit a ton of hotspots in 4 days.
  • The Arctic Monkeys concert had too many openings bands and lasted way too long because of it (4:30pm-10:45pm).

We are currently doing a documentary module. We didn’t have a lot of time to plan so I was very unenthusiastic about it. I had NO ideas whatsoever until in a moment of frustration over my allergies, I realized I should talk about bees. Yes, bees. I’m actually really excited for it right now! I was asked by Reinhard if I would be willing to fly to Austria this weekend to help with sound on his documentary because no one in his class had time. Luckily I have time so I agreed. He then told me that he knows many beekeepers in his area so I should extend my trip and do my documentary there. I will be there for a whole week this time! I’m really excited to work on both documentaries!

I will also be participating in an event called the Landscape Festival. It will take place over two weeks (one of the weeks is our next holiday) and we will be paired with random people to write, direct, film and edit a film in two weeks. I’m nervous and excited but I think it’s good to start stepping out of my comfort zone. There’s also 3 film contests that I will be working on with some friends.

I’ve been feeling extremely restless lately. I want to do so many things but I have no time or money. I really should work on losing some weight. I’ve lost some because I don’t have much of an appetite nowadays due to the heat but I think that is not a good way to go about it. Either way, I need to start stepping up and getting things done because people are starting to acknowledge my hard work and I need to take that as a cue to work even harder.

Stereo

I should probably go to sleep but I’m really pumped right now.

I¬†finally managed to¬†catch a showing of ‘Stereo’ after missing it at the Berlinale, today. I had no idea what the film was about and I was pleasantly surprised by how great it was.

Image

‘Stereo’ is a thriller about Erik,¬†who finds his perfect life with his beautiful girlfriend and her daughter compromised¬†when a man that only he can see starts stalking him.

What struck me about this film is that I didn’t see any of the twists coming. I was on the edge of my seat through the entirety of the film, unable to guess what would come next. It was filmed beautifully and the score was strange and unsettling which suited the film perfectly. The acting was strong, especially by the lead,¬†J√ľrgen Vogel. The film was short compared to today’s standards, clocking in at 95 minutes but it was packed to the brim with a strong story. There were several eerie scenes that really struck me such as the first few times¬†that he sees his stalker and the intimate scene with his girlfriend, Julia. The only thing I thought could be changed was the ending. I think they could have ended it a couple of scenes earlier because of the overarching relationship he has with a certain character. It would made it stronger. However, I have no complaints.

I strongly recommend that you all check it out!